My husband and I are on Day 26 of an exercise/eating program, and we've had pretty good results.
One of the things that makes it work?
In my opinion, it's our mutual encouragement.
Even though the fitness instructor on the screen spouts words of motivation and inspiration ("Pain is temporary but quitting lasts forever!" and "I'm proud of you!"), it's the words my husband and I share that make the biggest difference.
"You've got this."
"You're doing great."
It really helps having a buddy, a partner in the room who won't let you cheat, who tells you you're all right, who keeps you going. We do that for each other, and we've both acknowledged how much it helps.
We all need encouragement. Babies learning to walk or feed themselves. Toddlers practicing ABCs and holding pencils. Kids learning to ride bikes or...in my house...drive a car. Tender words, enthusiasm, joy, celebration. While we are pretty good about encouraging our kids, we forget we all need it.
Adults don't often get it, though. Not from bosses, and sometimes not from family, friends, or even spouses. And if you think writers have big egos because of the positive reviews we sometimes receive, think again. It's those bad ones that stick in our minds!
Remember Barnabas from Acts, whose name means "Son of Encouragement"? What a gift he must have been to the early Church and those around him. Few people are naturally so encouraging, but I suppose that means the rest of us have to work on it a little bit.
And as we all know, you can never guess what pain someone else is living through. Just because we can't see it, suffering lingers in every human heart.
So today, I'm going to encourage someone. The cashier at the store, a writing buddy, and my family.
When I achieve something that's been a struggle, I'm going to congratulate myself, too--for sticking with it, even if the results aren't what I'd hoped.
And whatever you're going through, remember God is with you in it. He's strong and you can rely on that strength. You're a precious person. You've got this.